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Oil Changes - Revisited

Why is a motorcycle oil change more expensive than Jiffy Lube?

The process of doing an “Oil Change” is a dramatically oversimplified term used by places like Jiffy Lube and other Quick Lube joints that is NOT applicable to motorcycles.

We do change the oil and filter as part of the process, but the types of oil the types of filters and their location and access makes that initial part of the process a heck of a lot more skill-oriented than simply unscrewing a drain plug and letting the oil out. Even the sealing and proper installation of the filter and drain plug is far more critical, because if that isn’t done properly you don’t just loose the oil and wreck the engine, you dump it in front of your rear tire. This invariably results in undue entertainment.

The cost of the materials is much higher than the car places because we are not selling price-point oil filters, but the best quality available. The same goes for oil, as the wrong oil can have negative effects on the wet clutch in the motor, the starting clutch mechanism along with cam and follower wear. The limited production of motorcycle-graded oil, by economies of scale (or lack of) logically results in slightly higher prices.

The cost of labor to perform these services is higher here. I do not have a “lube tech” doing this. Rather we have our “A” level line techs on these jobs. These are the same people doing our engines, suspension and tire/brake/wheel servicing. Who do you want looking out for you?

Our service also includes a thorough inspection as each bike is test ridden after the servicing, assuming there aren’t any patent flaws. The discovery of these flaws is the reason for the inspection, along with a heads-up to you about any recommended future attention the motorcycle will need. Such things as tire pressure, tread wear and condition, brake fluid, visible coolant levels, lighting function and overall running and handling characteristics among others are covered. Often the general overall impression of an experienced (the new guy has 18 years experience) rider is invaluable for general context.

Additional operations such as adjusting the chain or replacing involved bulbs or hardware (e.g. buried motor mount bolts, etc.) is done at a reduced rate as we already have the bike there and don’t have to handle it twice. We also advise and estimate the recommended repairs yet to be done.

So that is why we are more expensive than Jiffy Lube. Hope this helps us help you.

© Bill Whisenant 2017



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